James Yushang Lin Humanities and Social Science
Modernization Theory in the Post-Cold War Era
In the 1950s, modernization theory became the driving factor for American foreign policy as a reaction to the beginning of the Cold War. In the decades to follow, modernization theory slowly subsided in popularity, until a recent revival in the 1990s by several prominent American neo-conservatives in response to the presumed victory of the Cold War. This project plans to explore the reasons for the revival of modernization theory and its adoption by the neo-conservatives in the US. In preparing my answer in a 30-50 page paper, I will focus on the primary documents – in support of modernization theory from the 1950s and the 1990s – and place them in the context of the political atmosphere in the US during both periods.